Construction crews are on the Health City Cayman Islands job site in East End from early morning to late at night, working to complete the 140-bed hospital by 25 February, 2014, when developers say the specialised tertiary care facility will open its doors to patients.
Planning approval for the hospital was granted in February, meaning developers are about halfway to their deadline. Project director Gene Thompson and construction manager Ryan Smith took a Caymanian Compass reporter on a tour of the site Monday.
The shell of the hospital, which ranges in height from one to two storeys, is complete. Workers are well into the installation of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.
About 230 people are working on the site, and more than 70 per cent are Caymanian, Mr. Thompson said. Additionally, when the hospital is finished, Caymanians will have opportunities to pursue careers in the medical field.
“When the hospital’s developed, we plan to hire Caymanians. The difference is, on this project right now, all of these guys have a job. Our long-term goal is to provide careers to Caymanians, not just a job,” he said.
The first phase of the project is a joint venture between Dr. Devi Shetty’s India-based Narayana Hrudalaya and Ascension Health Alliance, the largest private non-profit health network in the US. When complete, the hospital will be a super-specialised tertiary care facility offering cardiac and orthopaedic services.
Over the next 15 years, developers plan to expand Health City Cayman Islands to include a 2,000-bed facility providing care in all major specialties (including neurology and oncology), as well as a medical school, assisted-living residences, retail and hotels. Mr. Thompson said they plan to start the medical school about a year after the hospital opens, providing academic and clinical training. He said they are talking with potential partners for accreditation but could not publicly name them yet.
Mr. Thompson and Mr. Smith said they hope to file a planning application in October for a five-storey hotel with 180 rooms and begin construction in the first quarter of next year. Though developers are speaking with potential brand partners, the hotel won’t just comprise the typical tourist amenities. The “dual-use” hotel rooms will be designed to accommodate patients and their families, so Health City Cayman Islands medical staff can train family members on how to assist in the recovery process.
The hotel site will be just east of the hospital, and the buildings will be connected via a second-storey walkway. At the moment, a natural rock ridge of some 30 feet or more shields the construction site from the view of passing motorists on Sea View Road. With a maximum allowable height of 75 feet, the hotel building should afford guests on the top two floors a view of the ocean.
In addition to privacy, the rock ridge offers additional protection from storms. The hospital building itself is constructed to be hurricane-resistant.
Additionally, developers say the project will strive toward conservation, using energy-saving technologies and strategies such as treating and reusing wastewater instead of using deep injection wells, and disposing medical waste on site via an autoclave system and incinerator.
“We will generate a lot of waste as a facility, but we will generate 40 per cent less than a US hospital,” Mr. Smith said.
The centrepiece of the development’s green technology will be a saltwater air-conditioning system, taking advantage of the development’s proximity to deep cold ocean water. Developers say the system will reduce power demands by half and will generate electricity as a by-product. While the development will use solar energy for its own consumption, Mr. Smith and Mr. Thompson said the current legal environment constrains the amount of energy the project can generate.
Developers have started the coastal works licence application for the saltwater air-conditioning system and have already signed an initial agreement with a company to design it. Mr. Smith said once the coastal works are approved, the design-build process will take about two years.
“That fits about with our phasing. The building now doesn’t have enough cooling capacity load to make it economically feasible to install it now. Once we have stage two on board, we pass that threshold,” he said.